French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Demander'

You can apologize, ask for mercy and more with French idioms using 'demander.'

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The French verb demander means "to ask" and is used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to apologize, ask for mercy, wonder and more with this list of expressions using demander. Demander is a regular -er verb and takes regular (classic) endings for its tenses. 

One frequent mistake that English speakers make when using this verb is demander une question. This construction doesn't exist in French. Instead, you would say "poser une question." But someone can ask why: Il m'a demandé pourquoi (He asked me why). And you can ask someone for something: Je vais demander un stylo à Michel (I'm going to ask Michel for a pen).

The Many Meanings of 'Demander'

  • to ask
  • to ask for, request
  • to apply for
  • to require, need
  • to send for

Common French Expressions With 'Demander'

demander de l'aide
to ask for help, assistance

demander aide et assistance
to (formally) request aid

demander à parler à quelqu'un
to ask to speak to someone

demander à quelqu'un de + infinitive
to ask someone to do something

demander à voir quelqu'un
to ask to see someone

demander le divorce
to apply for divorce

demander grâce
to ask for mercy

demander l'impossible
to ask for the impossible

demander la lune
to ask for the moon

demander pardon à quelqu'un
to apologize to someone

demander la parole
to ask for permission to speak

demander une permission (military)
to request leave

demander la permission de + infinitive
to ask for permission to + infinitive

demander une question

demander un service / une faveur à quelqu'un
to ask a favor of someone

se demander
to wonder, to ask oneself

se demander bien pourquoi
to not be able to figure out why; to ask yourself why

Cela ne se demande pas !
That's a stupid question!

Il est parti sans demander son reste.
He left without a murmur.

Que demande le peuple ?
What more could you ask for?

Je ne demande qu'à vous voir.
All I ask is to see you.

Je ne demande pas mieux que + infinitive
I ask for nothing more than to + infinitive

une demande
request, claim, application

un demandeur
plaintiff, petitioner, caller

demandé (adj)
in demand, sought after


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Team, ThoughtCo. "French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Demander'." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Team, ThoughtCo. (2023, April 5). French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Demander'. Retrieved from Team, ThoughtCo. "French Idiomatic Expressions With 'Demander'." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 5, 2023).